Let’s continue the thread: what do you think are the biggest mistakes made in risk and crisis communications and how can one avoid them?
Jan Karbe: Quite simply: stalling tactics, hasty blame, overconfidence, and fight and flight. In broader terms, an initial halting tactic is attempted first, rather than quickly and relentlessly putting all the cards on the table. Second, blame is place outwards rather than conducting a self-critical and honest assessment of the situation. Third, overconfidence – a belief that the storm will simply pass – can be fatal to a company. In this case, one is convinced that the crisis will somehow simply pass, a tactic which goes awry in most cases. The resulting costs to a company are often much higher than any communications costs saved in ignoring the problem. Fourth, confrontation and pulling up the drawbridge. The combination of fight and flight puts a spotlight on your problem for opponents to capitalize on, the last thing you need in a crisis.
Any final advice to our readers?
Jan Karbe: Learn from organizations that have weathered crises. Some have gone under as a result of their approach to a crisis, while others came out stronger. Prepare for crises as early as possible, and always start your approach from a worst-case scenario. Form a dedicated staff to handle these situation, educate them, and give the team sufficient time to train in handling of crises under realistic conditions. Situations of handling crisis communications can be practiced.